Dunleavy Choice For Fisheries Position Stirs Up Controversy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy created some buzz when he appointed a close consultant, a radio host named Mike Porcaro, to a key fisheries management position in the state. First, here’s some background on the hire from Alaska Public Media:

Porcaro is a Dunleavy ally whose communications firm has worked for the governor’s campaigns, and who has hosted the governor as a guest on his talk radio show. 

Porcaro will work remotely from his home in Anchorage, continue hosting his daily radio program from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and run his advertising agency outside work hours, he said. …

Porcaro, 75, has never been a commercial fisherman and didn’t ask for the job, but he said he was willing to take it when Dunleavy’s office made him the offer.

In a column for the Anchorage Daily News, Rick Sinnott questioned the Governor’s motives:

But I have a bigger fish to fry: the Alaska Board of Game. For decades, lobbyists for the hunting community and conservative politicians like Dunleavy have insisted that only hunters, trappers, and hunting guides are qualified to be on the Board of Game. That policy is not enshrined in law. It’s just what they do. Looking over the names of board members since statehood — well more than 100 people — I can only identify a handful whose focus was broader than optimizing hunting or trapping opportunities.

The inmates are running the asylum. This is not government of the people, by the people, for the people — it is government of the hunters, by the hunters, for the hunters.

According to the Alaska Constitution, our wildlife belongs to all of us. Even in Alaska, hunters are a minority. While non-hunting family members and friends often partake of wild game harvested by hunters, I’d be surprised if most Alaskans eat game meat every year, and most households living along the state’s road and ferry corridors (i.e., most Alaskans) don’t rely on it. Many Alaskans, including hunters, enjoy wildlife in non-consumptive ways like watching or feeding birds, taking photos or just knowing that wild animals exist. And Alaska benefits from a lucrative visitor industry that caters to and depends on wildlife viewing.

Apparently, the governor believes that a person doesn’t require any special experience or training to be appointed to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. The less the person knows about commercial fishing, the better.

Strong words. We’ll see how much more blowback Dunleavy receives for this. He made news earlier this month with a 2024 Presidential endorsement for former President Donald Trump despite his facing multiple criminal indictments.